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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Four out of five Blockbuster shops in region survive

The Annan branch of Blockbuster, the DVD and video games rental firm, is to close.

But its Carlisle, Penrith, Workington and Whitehaven outlets will survive for the time being.

Blockbuster became the latest struggling retailer to fall into administration last Wednesday.

Administrator Deloitte has now announced the closure of 160 stores as it moves to stem losses.

The branch in High Street, Annan, is among them.

Lee Manning, joint administrator, said: “Having reviewed the portfolio with management, the store-closure plan is an inevitable consequence of having to restructure the company to a profitable core capable of being sold.”

He warned that further closures could follow.

Annan and the other affected stores remain open today to allow customers to return rental items. The closure date will be advertised soon.

A helpline has been set up for staff facing redundancy and there is a programme to help them find new jobs.

Blockbuster opened its first store in London in 1989. It now has 528 outlets and employs 4,190 staff. Its collapse has been blamed on competition from internet firms and digital streaming of movies and games. Deloitte hopes to sell the business as a going concern. Gift cards and credit vouchers are being honoured.

Meanwhile, hopes are rising that a buyer will come forward for HMV – the music, games and DVD retailer – which also went into administration last week.

Retailer Game is among 50 businesses and individuals to express in buying all, or part, of HMV.

HMV has 223 stores including branches at The Lanes, in Carlisle, and Washington Square, Workington.

It is understood that Game wants to bid for up to 45 HMV locations.

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